We are studying in Matthew 13, the parable of the sower. We are learning that if he expects to reap a harvest the sower needs to prepare both himself and the soil.
Hard ground, hard hearts, people who have their eyes shut and their ears closed. How do you open them? With prayer and love. But words alone won’t cut it. Hearing about prayer, talking about love is not going to result in many coming to Jesus. If we are going to break up hard ground, we need to plow with prayer and love.
Using a business illustration, if you are trying to sell a product where there is no market, what do you have to do first? You first have to create a market for the product. So, do you create that market by telling customers how wonderful the product is? Or do you demonstrate for them how the product works and how it will make their life better? Obviously by showing.
We may focus on reaching our neighbors, but are how are they going to see Jesus in us if we only invest 5 hours a week with them? The workplace is the ideal location for modeling the reality of God within us. Why? Because the best times for modeling the power of the Gospel do not happen when things are going well, but when things are stressful or even falling apart.
When we win or things are going well, non-Christians often respond just like Christians – we’re all happy. But what about when the office is flooded or destroyed by an earthquake, a client is overdue in paying for goods or services, or a government official wants a bribe–for the 4th time? Or what if your employee lies to you, or steals from you, or keeps showing up late for work? That’s when our faith causes us to respond differently. People need to experience how we deal with difficulties. They need to see how love operates in such situations. It’s in these times when the difference between the Jesus & the Quran, Jesus and the Mahayana Sutras, and Jesus and the Hindu Vedas comes alive for them.
Jesus proclaims, ‘Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. Let your light so shine before men so that they may see your good works and give glorify God who is in heaven.’ (Matthew 5:15-16) Just as people need to see the light for it to be meaningful, people also need to see, to experience, a new product before they will buy it. Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists need to see and experience the light in our lives.
There’s a saying, Talk is cheap. The real impact, lasting value, comes from living out the Gospel so our co-workers and friends can experience it.